Probation into the millenium: the changing features of community justice.

Goodman, Anthony (2000) Probation into the millenium: the changing features of community justice. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This thesis briefly examines the changing nature of punishment in England and the origins of the probation service. From its religious roots probation became a professional organisation, probation and social work shared the same qualification. The 1960's was the golden age of the treatment ideal, case work techniques were employed to work with offenders on their problems, which were seen as being located in their life experience. The service expanded taking responsibility for prison welfare and offering support to prisoners on discharge. Optimism in the ability to reduce reoffending waned in the 1970's, although probation officers had almost total autonomy. Seniors offered supervision and carried small caseloads themselves. In 1984 the Home Office set priorities for the service and with the threat of `cash limiting' made it clear that management had to co-operate. Reports from the Audit Commission and the National Audit Office continued the drive for stronger management as well questioning the relevance of social work. The Criminal Justice Act 1991 introduced the notion of `just deserts'. My interviews with informants highlight these tensions and pressures. The 1992 and 1995 versions of National Standards for the supervision of offenders changed the nature of probation to one of administering punishment and this is considered in depth. The service has become stratified, with low morale as officers adjust to a risk focused, more punitive and highly regulated organisation. Notions of actuarial justice, case management replacing individual case work, and the use of set unchangeable programmes with offenders are evaluated. Links with social work ended in 1995 and the change of government has not affected moves to turn probation into a correctional agency. Probation remains a political issue and its future is located within contemporary thought on the changing nature of community control, particularly of minority groups where probation historically held a commitment to anti-discriminatory practice. The reflection of the informants is that the old ethos of `advise, assist and befriend' is evolving into one of `control and monitor'.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Research Areas:Theses
School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
ID Code:6721
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Deposited On:18 Nov 2010 09:30
Last Modified:23 Jul 2014 12:06

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